I have been wearing Oakley sunglasses for fifteen years. Within the last several years I have been buying and selling all different kinds on the internet via Ebay. I have purchased approximately twenty pairs of Oakley sunglasses and only determined two not be genuine, and have since returned those to the seller. I’ve composed this brief guide to help keep you from buying fake Oakley sunglasses. Some of these tips are general and just good Ebay practices but there are several specific things to look for when purchasing Oakley sunglasses.
Do Some Research Before You Shop
The best place to do research is your local Oakley dealer or sunglasses store. Find the style you want, try them on, and look at them very carefully. Be sure to notice the following:
- Identifying markings (trademarks, serial numbers, date, laser etches on lenses)
- Construction (hinge action, lens fit, quality of rubber pieces, and emblems)
- Composition (rigidity and feel of the plastic or metal)
If you can’t get to a sunglasses shop or don’t have one near you, go to the manufacturer. The official Oakley website has a vast amount of information about all the current sunglasses styles and colors that they offer, including pictures. You can also use official sunglasses retailer websites like The Sunglass Hut for other styles and colors that may have been discontinued and not currently available on the Oakley website.
So you think you have a good idea what you want and things to look for…
Tips to Spot a Fake Before You Buy
Ideally people selling Oakley sunglasses would have the box with original price tag, a bag, warranty papers, and a corresponding receipt from an authorized Oakley dealer. That just almost never happens. Just because a sale doesn’t include a box, warranty papers, and/or a bag, doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t real. The reverse of that is, just because a pair of sunglasses comes with a box, bag, and papers, doesn’t make them genuine either. Just because a seller says they are "Real" or "Genuine" or "Authentic" Oakley sunglasses, doesn’t make them so. The seller could easily have been misinformed about their product from an unethical supplier.
Do the obvious things first (Good Ebay practice for any transaction)
Quick glance – If the sunglasses look fake at first glance, then they probably are.
Check a seller’s history, feedback, and return policy:
- It’s good if they have been selling Oakleys awhile or have an Ebay store.
- It’s not good if they have feedback suspecting a fake for any reason.
- It’s good if a seller stands behind their product and allows you to inspect it.
If the "Buy it Now" price is exceptionally low compared to MSRP, then the authenticity could be questionable.*
Read the description closely. Don’t forget the fine print.
Make sure the description matches the pictures given for the auction.
Make sure the pictures are of the actual product, not all from the Oakley website.
Can you find the style and color for sale in a store or on the Oakley website?
So you think the seller is honest and the product looks good…
Get some details (If not already given in product description and pictures)
- Where did you get the sunglasses? (If it was on Ebay you can track the product through previous sellers. If the sunglasses have been bought and sold several times the authenticity could be questionable.)
- Why are you selling them?
- Are these seconds? Or B-Stock sunglasses? Repaired?*
- Do the sunglasses have any identifying marks? (You should know from your research if they should)
- Ask if pictures can be sent showing those identifying marks.
So you’re pretty certain this seller is not trying to fool you and you decide to buy…
Tips to Spot a Fake After You Buy
Not every aspect of authenticity can be determined until you get the sunglasses in your possession. The best way to determine a fake is to take your new purchase to an Authorized Oakley Dealer to determine their authenticity. I’ve found that not all people that work at these locations can even spot a fake and you can’t always get to one that easily. I’ve comprised a small checklist of signs that point to an imposter pair of Oakley sunglasses.
Molding process - There shouldn’t be any seams in the plastic from a bad mold. Typically you will see a very noticeable raised line (seam) in the plastic on top of the bridge (above the lenses) and raised circles and/or lines on each of the ear stems if the item is fake. This is caused by a poor mold quality and manufacturing process in fake production. You will never see a seam line in a real pair of Oakleys and should only occasionally be able to see any hint of a circle from the ear stem mold.
Plastic consistency – Oakley only uses a rigid plastic. The sunglasses should not feel rubbery or soft. This doesn’t mean they can’t bend.
Frame color – The color on plastic (or metal) frames or emblems should never flake right off. The color should not come off if you lightly scratch the inside of an ear stem with your fingernail to reveal a clear plastic frame that has been painted. I have seen paint chips on metal frames, typically around hinges, but the chips are small, the paint is thicker, and the color will not continue to come off if you lightly scratch it.
Lens fit – You should not be able to wiggle the lens if you lightly try to move them. The lenses should not have any spots around its perimeter that do not have the same color as the rest of the lens. There shouldn’t be any gaps between the lens and the frame.
Lens quality – When you try the lenses on, everything should appear just as clear as it did without them. Try looking at something very detailed with and without the sunglasses on. There should be no noticeable difference. If while wearing the sunglasses you are able to look outside the frame, you should see no drastic jump in image location. This can only be tested while sunglasses are in the correct position on your face, so it can’t be tested on all styles.
* Last Minute Facts and Comments
Oakley does not have "2nds" or "B-Stock" products. Products with small imperfections of some kind (a scratch or bubble in the frame, a dot on the lens, a crooked symbol, etc. are either damaged, repaired, or replicas. Oakley is very picky when it comes to quality control. Some of these imperfect products may be genuine; just beware the seller that may be trying to sell them as "New". Be sure to weigh the price you are willing to spend vs. the potential of a less than perfect product.
Don’t be too quick to chastise the seller if you feel you’re Oakley sunglasses are not genuine. Bring it to the seller’s attention. A good seller is always willing to resolve the situation and would probably be happy to know they had a fake product. They can then go back to their seller with a similar complaint, potentially following a trail to the source. This guide does not guarantee that you can spot every fake product up for auction. It should give you several things to look for to minimize your chances of getting stuck with a fake pair of Oakley sunglasses. With any luck, the more people that can spot a fake, the less we will see on Ebay.